Molly Vallillo, 127
I locked myself out of my house. Again. I’m now breaking into my room through my window. The whole time cursing under my breath because, how could I be so stupid as to make this mistake again? Now my pants are all dusty from climbing in the window and I’m going to be late. But worst of all, my morning is ruined. In a few hours this will be comical, but right now it’s everything. I’m frustrated and irritated with no one to blame but myself.
Isn’t it amazing how a little time and hindsight makes all the difference? How one moment a situation is taking over your life and the next it’s just a funny story you’re telling? People sometimes say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. What if I told you it’s all small stuff?
Emotions can be amazing. Feeling something you’ve never experienced is incredible. However, they can also put us in a place we can’t get out of easily. With a little foresight we can relieve the pressure of unnecessary lows and begin to enjoy life in a way we didn’t have access to previously.
Yoga can lead us to a place of mindfulness that makes this possible. The physical benefits of yoga are certainly noteworthy (yoga booty anyone?), but far from the whole picture. Here are some of the ways yoga can change your life off of the mat.
Patience: Any yogi will tell you that yoga involves patience. You must accept that some days your body will be more capable than other days. This doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress or improving. It is just where you are on that particular day. Your yoga journey if charted would not be a steady incline. You’ll learn to let go of your expectations and not to force anything. All will come in time. This patience will spill over into your non-yogi life, which as well all know, doesn’t always end up “on scheduele”no matter how hard we try.
Self Love: Yoga has become a time that I set aside to take care of myself physically and mentally. It is easier said than done to not be too hard on yourself. Yoga can be something you do just for you and don’t need to justify to anyone. We must first help ourselves if we hope to help others. Practice what you preach and show yourself the nurturing you deserve. You may start to notice you are more positive with your internal dialogue as a result.
Becoming You: Sometimes we may not be sure what we want or even who we are. We spend a great deal of time alone and this can be daunting. During yoga you are encouraged to just be with yourself. Don’t run from the thoughts that come up during your practice. Just acknowledge them and recognize that you are not your thoughts. You decide what to make of them and what to act on.
Relax: (aka not losing it over locking yourself out) When presented with a stressful situation we fall into old habits. Our bodies become tense and our brains switch into crisis mode. By going through poses that are physically intense we can practice how we want to react when life is stressful. It is only natural to become tense and try to formulate a way out of the current situation. By focusing on your breath you can become calm in the midst of stress. By increasing your consciousness of how you respond to stress you will be able to create more positive patterns of thought. These will translate into a more mindful existence. The more you practice the easier this will become on and off the mat.